De Morgan on Euclid’s fourth postulate

Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 20 (2):250-1 (2014)
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Abstract
This paper will annoy modern logicians who follow Bertrand Russell in taking pleasure in denigrating Aristotle for [allegedly] being ignorant of relational propositions. To be sure this paper does not clear Aristotle of the charge. On the contrary, it shows that such ignorance, which seems unforgivable in the current century, still dominated the thinking of one of the greatest modern logicians as late as 1831. Today it is difficult to accept the proposition that Aristotle was blind to the fact that, for example, incommensurability is a relation and not a property: that the proposition “In every square, the diagonals are incommensurable with the sides” is relational and not categorical. This paper asks the reader to do something more difficult: to accept the proposition that as late as 1831 De Morgan was blind to the same fact. This paper shows conclusively that in 1831, De Morgan was still in the grips of the allegedly Aristotelian paradigm.
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Archival date: 2015-05-24
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